Social Media for Professional Growth
Elena Grin is a lawyer and blogger known and appreciated in the professional environment and on social media. The expert constantly upgrades her knowledge and has her finger on the pulse of the legal agenda. She shares useful information of high quality with wide audience in an understandable form. This summer, Elena Grin took part in major international forums in Saint Petersburg as a speaker.
PhD in Law, Associate Professor and Deputy Head of the Department of Intellectual Rights of the Kutafin Moscow State Law University (MSAL), member of the central office of the All-Russia People’s Font, head of the Legal Enlightenment of Citizens project, member of the scientific advisory board to the Court on Intellectual Property Rights, All-Russia People's Front expert, author of an expert blog
Development of a personal brand and original expert blogs are among the most important and brightest trends in today’s professional environment. For lawyers, these are especially valuable tools for career advancement. Competition in their profession is so great today that it is no longer enough for a professional to simply do his or her job well, have extensive experience, and possess relevant knowledge. To stay in demand, he or she needs to demonstrate his or her expertise and usefulness to the audience.
In 2022, the topic of expert blogs was included into the programme of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) and the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum. During both events, Elena Grin delivered workshops and lectures devoted to personal brand as a topic.
In her interview with the Global Women Media news agency, the expert talked about what the most valuable and interesting things brought by the forums. She also shared the key points of her reports.
– Elena, you constantly keep track of the professional agenda and take part in legal conferences and discussions. Why was it important for you to visit the economy-focused forum as well?
– It was a great honour for me to present my expert report at the SPIEF. That was my first experience and it turned out to be very useful and interesting.
For instance, one of the discussion platforms was devoted to a topic that excites me: the development of expert blogs and personal brands of specialists. I presented my report as an expert on the legal protection of bloggers and presented cases on copyright protection on social media.
In my speech, I paid special attention to the educational TopBLOG project carried out within the platform titled ‘Russia - Country of Opportunities’. As part of that initiative, leading bloggers and experts teach everyone wishing to develop their social media accounts and create engaging content as well as contest-focused projects. I not only participated in the programme but also made it to the finals of the contest. Based on my own experience, I can say that such projects are really extremely effective.
Today, experts from various fields have a number of opportunities in the field of developing their personal brands through social media. One should use those opportunities, master new promotion tools, and learn to interest one’s audience.
Anna Khilkevich, Anatoly Tsoi, Aleksey Savko, and Aleksandr Zarubin (also known as Sasha Stone), Ambassadors of the YAPPY Russian project, together with experts currently engaged in the development of VK.com and RuTube were among the speakers besides me. Many famous artists and producers shared their tips and algorithms for promoting themselves on social media. In my opinion, that information is relevant for specialists from absolutely all fields of activity.
– What insights have come to you after your participation in the forum?
– Today, anyone can become a blogger and I find that great. On the one hand, it provides people with a great opportunity to expand their audience, find potential clients, and increase the profitability of their businesses. On the other hand, the development of expert blogs is a useful trend for social media. Today, we can witness that entertainment content is increasingly often being replaced by useful materials broadening our horizons and helping us in solving certain problems.
Interestingly, Russia’s social media have started developing particularly actively today. Now Russia has completely new platforms for blogging. In my opinion, that is a great chance for those people who have just started thinking about presenting their personal brands in the media space.
While newcomers on popular and well-established social media have to compete with bloggers with millions of subscribers, new social media platforms make it possible for everyone to start everything from scratch on an equal footing. That opens up more opportunities for standing out against the background of the mass of experts. That is why I would strongly advise newcomers to study different platforms and projects existing in today’s media space. Fortunately, there are a huge number of them.
– What other practical tips related to developing a personal brand would you share with experts from various fields?
– At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, many well-known bloggers shared their practical tips. Generally speaking, I would single out three key elements from their reports, which sounded like a leitmotif.
In the first turn, naturalness is important in blogging. Social media users want to see live people. That’s why it is necessary to show emotions, share moments from real life, and demonstrate real-time self-development and continuous learning processes not only in personal blogs but also in expert blogs. If the subscribers have the impression of knowing the expert in person, they begin to trust him or her. That’s of fundamental importance in the professional environment.
In the second turn, the information published by the expert should be relevant and demanded. For example, a lawyer can share useful advice related to specific events taking place in the country or the world as the moment. He or she can tell the subscribers about innovations in the law, the emergence of new benefits and allowances.
A blog belongs to mass media. Therefore, it should cover everything happening ‘here and now’ and meet the needs of today’s audience.
In the third turn, a blogger should be creative and memorable. The more interesting content formats the expert develops, the more likely the audience will choose his or her blog and want to return to it.
Certainly, all published expert information must be reliable, verified, understandable, and characterized by high quality. That is probably not a trend or advice but a basic rule that requires no further explanation. It is important to remember that a blogger is responsible for his or her every word. After all, as we all know, every word published on the net stays there forever.
Within my report, I gave examples of my own social media projects. The ‘People’s Right’ blog carried out jointly with the All-Russia People’s Front was received very warmly. That is an open social media platform where we and our colleagues not only share legal advice but also answer questions and discuss problematic legal topics together with the audience. As turned out, many forum participants are familiar with that project and like it very much for sincere care, friendliness, and openness of its experts.
– The development of a personal brand as a topic was also highlighted by the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum. In what way did that event consider it?
– For lawyers, the topic of developing a personal brand is particularly important. While the economic forum dealt with expert blogs in general, the legal forum was more about narrowly-focused issues.
Wide audience often finds legal content difficult for understanding. It can be quite challenging for people not having legal education to understand the innovations that appear in the law. A lawyer’s expert blog where useful information is published in understandable language helps people a lot in that case. For example, in my social media projects, I not only explain the existing legal nuances but also give specific examples of how anyone can use them in real life.
Lawyers’ blogs are not only tools for professional promotion and increasing visibility but also a kind of social projects that bring concrete benefits to the audience.
That is why I find it very important to support experts who develop their blogs. Many experts are deeply immersed in their professional topics. However, they often lack knowledge in content promotion. If we help them develop their personal brands, they will be able to share unique and truly valuable information with a much larger number of people.
During the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum, we collaborated with the Union of Lawyers-Bloggers of the Kutafin Moscow State Law University (MSAL) within the platform of the Association of Lawyers of Russia. I talked about the personal brand of a lawyer and the opportunities that professionals acquire thanks to competent interaction with the media. I also shared tips on how to write academic articles that everyone will quote and explained the role of social projects in legal enlightenment of citizens.
– What topics are particularly relevant for today’s legal blogs? What issues are poorly highlighted? Can they be a good niche for newcoming bloggers?
– Today, there is a great lack of lawyers focusing on intellectual property rights, especially in the regions of Russia. After my report on that topic, many participants from all over Russia came to me and nearly ‘drown’ me in their questions. In my opinion, that’s our point of growth. We need to exchange more experience and do that through expert blogs as well.
If considering topics relevant to a wide audience, today, citizens have many questions related to administrative offenses. That is a promising content area.
In my opinion, the protection of the rights of women and children is another relevant and important agenda today. This is one of the focuses of my work and that of other experienced lawyers. We talk a lot about allowances and benefits for parents and children, legal nuances that mothers on maternity leave need to know, and many other things. The success of our Legally Mom project has clearly demonstrated that this topic is extremely useful in terms of people’s legal enlightenment.
– What would you wish all those experts planning to develop their personal brands?
– Don’t be afraid to discover new fields of activity and experiment. If your content in the media space is interesting and useful to at least one person, then all your efforts were not in vain.
Photos are taken from Elena Grin’s personal archive
Viktoria Gusakova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov